The Bible continues to be the best selling book of all time. Throughout the ages, the Bible has provided inspiration, comfort and guidance to those who have read it. But is the Bible merely an inspirational book? It is this, but so much more!
How Do We Use the Bible?
The Bible is foundational for the church’s ministry. The Bible was never intended to stand alone or apart from the community of faith we call the Christian church. It is sad when some people think that, if they just read the Bible, they can stay away from church. We receive our Lord’s gifts with joy and do not say,“We want this, but not that.” It would be misleading if our high respect for the Scriptures was used to drive a wedge between the Bible and the church. The church is the gathering of God’s people around the Lord’s Word and Sacraments. The Scriptures are the sure and certain revelation of God’s Word and thus are to be read, studied and meditated on by Christians at church and at home.
We Lutherans realize that Scripture must be interpreted according to the central truth of the Bible, the Gospel, not picked apart and made to teach things that actually conflict with the Gospel. Therefore, we pay close attention to the grammar and words of the Bible, seeking out the intended meaning, which is the plain sense of the text. We recognize that God the Holy Spirit works through the Scriptures to create and sustain the church as it comes together around the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments.
Whenever the Word of God is preached, taught, studied, read, learned or meditated on, the Holy Spirit is actively turning people from their sin and drawing them to Christ for their salvation. Thus, we will want to be in the Word daily. At home we read and meditate on the Word through our private and family devotions. At church, our hymns and liturgy are anchored in the Word of God. Our pastors preach to us on the basis of the Scripture lessons appointed for each Sunday in the church year. In Sunday school, children learn the biblical accounts and thus have a foundation for their lives. In youth and adult Bible studies, the Scriptures are studied in a variety of ways so they can inform and enlighten us and help us understand how we live out our lives as God’s people.
What a blessed gift the Holy Scriptures are to us and to all people! Everything God wants us to know about Himself is contained in His Word. Through the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit reveals the truth about our sinful condition and the joyful news of God’s saving work for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Truly, God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path (Ps. 119:105). For that reason we pray,“Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word.”
from Dr. A.L. Barry’s “What About the Bible?”
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